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Friday, February 17, 2017

RIP Peter Skellern (March 14, 1947 - February 17, 2017)

Peter Skellern died today (February 17).
He was 69.
I was very saddened. His cool, 1930's style was unique in one so young as he was at the time when I first encountered him at Newcastle City Hall where he was the support artist for George Melly/John Chilton. Chalk and cheese you might think except they had one thing in common - the ability to recognise and stamp their own identity on a good song.
The singer/pianist/songwriter, Skellern, won over any of the skeptics who'd come for Melly and the next day, I bought an LP and a couple of singles. Later, I acquired a couple of CDs incorporating many of the titles on the LP as well as some originals.
The LP was a tribute to Fred Astaire and he had that easy relaxed style of Fred's. Astaire may have been a better dancer but he wasn't a better pianist!, Like so many of Skellern's discs he's accompanied by the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band, an ethereal choir and, of course, his own distinctive piano playing.
The singles; his hit - You're a Lady and a delightful version of Love is the Sweetest Thing with shades of Noel Coward/Al Bowlly/Denny Dennis (ask your grandmother) in his voice.
I hadn't realised until now that he'd joined the clergy last year - I'd like to have been at one of his choir practices.
Not a name heard in jazz circles very often but for quality popular music, he was the tops.
Very sadly missed. A class act - may he rest in peace.

2 comments :

Sid White (on F/b) said...

Yeah I remember him as a kid he was quirky and different. Talented man .

Flash said...

Great musician (classically trained I believe) turned me onto swing not just a tune but a complete genre (sic) not seen enough of him in recent years but a fixture in my cars cd player. Deserved wider exposure and more acknowledgement will be sadly missed. R.I.P. Peter Skellern

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